Ge­orges Najm

ArabAd - - COVER STORY -

Part­ner / Di­rec­tor Clé­men­tine and Noise We have to work on our Le­banese touch and hone it. A HAIL OF DIF­FI­CUL­TIES

This year we faced a hail of dif­fi­cul­ties in Le­banon. We are fac­ing in­creas­ing eco­nomic pres­sure, with the re­gion boil­ing with on­go­ing con­flicts im­pact­ing the very heart of the economies and of course our coun­try is in the midst of all this mess. Com­pa­nies are fight­ing to stay put and cre­ate value and en­sure proper man­age­ment of this “value”. It is not an easy time for the in­dus­try, as we are still ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the same hard­ships. Zoom­ing in, the ad busi­ness is or­gan­i­cally im­pacted by this over­all mar­ket sit­u­a­tion, and they’re both in­ter­linked: when your econ­omy is bad, you can­not ex­pect a thriv­ing mar­com in­dus­try; big cor­po­ra­tions are not do­ing well and that ap­plies to SMES. Con­se­quently, we are wit­ness­ing bud­get cuts (which are tremen­dous ones in some cases). In this case, the first ex­pen­di­ture that com­pa­nies usu­ally cut, is that re­lated to ad­ver­tis­ing, thus pre­sent­ing the first ob­sta­cle to the mar­ket’s growth. The ma­jor other fac­tor hin­der­ing the busi­ness, has to do with the over­all shape of the in­dus­try. The old school model of ad­ver­tis­ing based on creation, pro­duc­tion and me­dia, with the vast al­lo­ca­tion of bud­get go­ing to me­dia (around 75%). With the forth­com­ing of the so­cial and dig­i­tal me­dia that every­body is crazy about, we see fur­ther de­cline in spend­ing within the tra­di­tional in­dus­try out­lets. The busi­ness of ad­ver­tis­ing pos­sesses though a na­tional legacy. It has the ca­pa­bil­i­ties to de­liver due to the fact that Le­banon, and most im­por­tantly that the Le­banese ad­ver­tis­ing en­joys a spe­cial touch that equals the French touch to lux­ury. Thus we can al­ways ex­pect a ro­bust re­bound, any­time, and re­gain the trust of ad­ver­tis­ers in the in­dus­try and the mar­ket as a whole.

COLOS­SAL CHAL­LENGES

The chal­lenges we face cur­rently are colos­sal. We have to work on our Le­banese touch and hone it. The ad com­mu­nity has to work hard to main­tain the unique level of Le­banese cre­ativ­ity, to make it alive more than ever, be­cause it’s the very core el­e­ment that the in­dus­try rep­u­ta­tion is built on, in­sur­ing ul­ti­mately the flow of dol­lars to agen­cies. Sec­ond, we have to cope with the gen­eral changes af­fect­ing the tra­di­tional scene, and adapt to the cut down in me­dia bud­gets, and live with the new so­cial and dig­i­tal me­dia re­al­ity. Third, we all ex­pe­ri­ence dif­fi­cul­ties in find­ing the right tal­ent for our grow­ing op­er­a­tions as the pool of good tal­ents is in­creas­ingly get­ting smaller in the coun­try. In the mean­time, agen­cies should work on equip­ping their re­tained tal­ents with mod­ern skills to cope with new meth­ods and tools through con­tin­u­ous train­ing.

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